Laura’s call was the fifth call I received in the past two weeks. She was hysterical. Just a little while ago she was thrilled. She finally met Larry after being alone for 17 years. Her last serious relationship was shortly after college. She adores him. He loves her. He is recently divorced. The fly in the ointment: he has three teenagers. All of them are angry. Scared. Demanding.
Larry feels guilty much of the time. It wasn’t only his idea to break up the family. His wife was fed up with him as well. He still wants to be a good father. He is loaded with guilt. He is always buying the kids presents. Running around with them. But not spending enough “quality time.” Laura has been feeling like the fifth wheel. An unwilling competitor. She is beginning to doubt if they will ever have a reasonable life together. Wondering if being single is better than getting on board this ship.
Laura, getting Larry involves the whole complicated package. But if you love each other, it can be worked out. Not overnight. It will likely be a long challenging process. You will need to deal with anger you don’t deserve. With the kids competing for Larry’s love and attention until everyone finds a comfortable place. It will require a lot of patience. Understanding. Persistence. It can work. It can also bring you and Larry closer. And possibly ultimately a close relationship with one of more of the kids. Have you been through a similar situation? What happened? What did you learn from it? What, if anything, would you do differently now?